Bangladesh exports up 15% as global clothing demand rebounds
DHAKA, July 6 (Reuters) – Bangladesh’s exports jumped 15% to $ 38.76 billion in the fiscal year ended June, according to data released on Tuesday, driven by a rebound in demand for then-garments. as Western economies recover.
The world’s second-largest clothing producer after China earned around $ 6 billion in fiscal year 2019-20, as overseas clothing sales fell 18% to $ 27.94 billion. Read more
Clothing exports increased 13% to $ 31.5 billion in 2020/21 from the previous year, thanks to a 21% increase in overseas sales of knitwear products such as t shirts and sweaters, but were 7 percent lower than the pre-pandemic 2018-19 fiscal year, the Export Promotion Office said.
Sales of woven garments, such as dress jeans shirts and pants, rose only 3%, which exporters attributed to lukewarm demand as more people worked from home and avoided social gatherings.
Bangladesh’s exports in June grew at a record 31 percent from the previous year to $ 3.58 billion, driven by more orders from the United States and Europe, the major clothing sales destinations.
Executives in the garment industry have said they expect exports to rise, but rising freight and raw material costs could dampen growth.
“The order flow is good. But transport costs and cotton prices are increasing, which could hamper our exports,” said Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Exporters and Manufacturers Association.
“Our garment factories are largely unaffected by the latest pandemic situation at home, but we need to get it under control quickly,” said Azim, who supplies European and North American retailers.
Bangladesh is currently grappling with a record peak in coronavirus cases, which has prompted the government to extend its strictest lockdown until July 14. Clothing factories are, however, allowed to operate in accordance with sanitary protocols. Read more
Some garment workers are happy because they can earn overtime, which often accounts for 20% of their monthly income.
“I’m really happy that I can earn a little more by working overtime. There was a time when we would go to the factory and sit idle all day because there were no orders,” said Munna Khan, a worker from Gazipur, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.
Low wages have helped Bangladesh develop its garment industry, with some 4,000 factories employing 4 million workers, supplying brands such as H&M and GAP. Ready-to-wear is a pillar of the economy, representing nearly 16% of the country’s GDP.
Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Jacqueline Wong
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